Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Derby Line, Vermont, USA and Rock Island, Quebec, Canada

The Haskell Free Library was deliberately built on the international border between the USA and Canada in 1904. Indeed, the boundary line runs right through the reading room. It also bisects several other structures in town. Homeland Security hates Derby Line, Vermont! [2009]

Monday, July 30, 2012

Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

Corn on the corner, pizza on the bus.
One from Mexico, and one from US.   [2007]

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico

Eight incisors,
Seven inches of cob,
Six minutes after Five,
Four hours before dinner,
Three ears:
Two with him born and
One of corn.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

An open door on Sunday morning welcomes the world to Belfast's Moravian Church. If you choose not to hear the word of God from the pews, however, you can always read the word of God in brilliant hues. [2009]

Friday, July 27, 2012

London, England, UK

Today, thousands of people will congregate here on Trafalgar Square to watch the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics. And, while their eyes are on the jumbotron, the the eyes of the world will be on London. [2008]

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Athens, Greece

Street vendors congregate outside market places all over the world, at least until governments intervene to stop them. From the nearby countryside (Von Thunen's inner ring), they pack their morning's harvest into a bag and haul off for the city. He can't live too far away, can he? Otherwise, his greens would wilt. [2005]

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Istanbul, Turkey

The Dolmabah├že Palace, last residence of the Ottoman sultans, stands on the European side of the Bosporus and looks very European, especially in contrast to the old Topkapi Palace with its architectural roots in Asia. From this vantage point you can take in both Europe and Asia in a single view. [2007]

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Haridwar, India

The river is the Ganges, and the pilgrimage site is Haridwar. Here, the river is clean and inviting because it has just plunged through the last gap in the foothills of the Himalayas. Further downstream are other Hindu holy places that are being consumed by tourists as if they were commodities. Haridwar, on the other hand, is being consumed by pilgrims alone. [2011]

Monday, July 23, 2012

St. Malo, Manitoba, Canada

In the 1980s, 283 white tail deer were relocated from Winnipeg to the St. Malo area of southern Manitoba. It was the first large-scale urban deer relocation program in Canada. But the picture is really about the morning sky: as dark as night in the west, sun shining through in the east. [2012]

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gardenton, Manitoba, Canada

Ukrainian immigrants to the tall-grass prairies brought their culture with them to their new home. St. Michael's was the first Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Manitoba, and many of those pioneer families are buried right here. [2012]

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Give'em a place to play. That's what Manitoba did in 2006. In the city's pedestrian precinct, called The Forks, skateboarders now have a park of their own. [2012]

Friday, July 20, 2012

Petersburg, North Dakota, USA

Electricity from this wind turbine, in operation since 2002, is sold to the nearby Grand Forks Air Force Base and members of the Infinity Wind Energy Cooperative. [2012]

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Arkansaw, Wisconsin, USA

Barns and silos of this size just can't operate at economies of scale in today's agribusiness environment. So, abandonment sets in, working orifices become gaping wounds, and bright greens and yellows fade and peal. [2012]

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bloomington, Minnesota, USA

Giant globes from tiny Legos grow, and nothing says explore better than a globe. All across the cultural landscape, even at the Mall of America, symbolic globes charge the environment with reminders that we should know more about the planet on which we live. Here, the empty continents say it all. [2012]

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Residents of Waiheke Island, all 8,000 of them, are doubly insular. They are isolated on a small island in the Hauraki Gulf, with access to the mainland only by ferry. When they get to the mainland, they find themselves on another island, New Zealand's North Island. A thousand miles away is Australia, the island continent. Maybe that's triple insularity. [2006]

Monday, July 16, 2012

Imlil, Morocco

What's your interpretation? Is this evidence of primitive living conditions and a lack of modernity, or is it a greener and more energy-wise way to live? Work animals have disappeared from our so-called lives, and we have abandoned the use of brawn for brains. Maybe all we really need are our heads and our thumbs. [2005]

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Luxor, Egypt

Water is drawn off the Nile and into the fields of cane and cucumbers (sweeter than any I have ever eaten!). Workers in those fields have traditionally been called fellaheen, though many have now been drawn off to grow the tourist economy in nearby Thebes. [1997]

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hasseke, Syria

These are the faces of Kurdistan, a country that does not exist. Yet, in Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey, there are 25 million Kurds. To their north: 9 million Azeris, 3 million Armenians, and 5 million Turkmen have independent states of their own. But, the Kurds are told statehood is not for them. How would you feel? [1993]

Friday, July 13, 2012

Whangarei, New Zealand

Though a native of Africa, the calla lily has taken a liking to the wetlands of New Zealand: here along a tributary of the Hatea River. Still, it looks much too refined to be growing in the wild. Too bad most Americans see it only in those uptight Easter arrangements. [2011]

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Wildflowers don't look so wild when they are brought into the city. And, if you like lotus, you will love all the cities of  Southeast Asia, where tropical hues provide a little eye nectar for the urban tourist. Bangkok is no exception. [2011]

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Totland, Isle of Wight, England, UK

Just a few centuries ago, the colors in our lives all came from nature. Now, they come from applied science. But, nothing artificial can equal the colors of a footpath's edges. Nope, not even the colors on your screen right now. So, get moving, go outside, and see what you've been missing. [2011]

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Jerusalem, Israel

Mailbox or flag? Both, and a sign of fluorescent nationalism in Jerusalem's Armenian quarter, too. What event brought out the brushes? With the breakup of the Soviet Union, an independent Republic of Armenia joined the world family of nations. Thereafter: Armenian pride took to the landscape. [1998]

Monday, July 9, 2012

Georgina, Ontario, Canada

What could be more Canadian than the chip wagon? Potatoes are well suited to Canada's geography. They do best in cool temperatures, love sandy loams, hate water logging, dig organic matter, and respond to the long days of northern summers. Look at the potato plant, above and below ground, and you will see the logic of these growing conditions. [2010]

Sunday, July 8, 2012

St. Peter's Square, Vatican City

Pope John Paul II was installed in 1978. On Sundays, a quarter century later, Poles were still streaming into St. Peter's Square to hear the Polish pope's homily. Is there any question that John Paul Two would have been able to spot the Polish cohort when he surveyed the crowd from his balcony? [2002]

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Douglas, Isle of Man

From the waterfront in Douglas, a miniature castle is visible in the harbor. It's too small for anyone to live in, but not too small to provide a refuge where shipwrecked sailors may await rescue. After all, the Irish Sea can be a treacherous body of water. On the one hand, clever; on the other, an example of innovation without diffusion. [2011]

Friday, July 6, 2012

Patong, Phuket Island, Thailand

"Husband Day Care Center": Would you guess you were in Thailand? The language is English, the alphabet is Roman, the humor is American, and the scooters are Italian. Authenticity: lost. Actually, the scooters aren't fashionable enough to be Italian. [2011]

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Muggia, Italy

From the high ground, princely authority could keep the town, waterfront, harbor, and approaches under surveillance. In fact, the castle's windows almost look like eyes, and the crenelations like eyebrows. That analogy would make the harbor the mouth and the houses the teeth:  in a cubist sort of way. [2008]

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wickenburg, Arizona, USA

"From 1863 to 1890 outlaws were chained to this tree for lack of a hoosegow. Escapees were unknown." Now, the Jail Tree is Wickenburg's contribution to Arizona's narrative as a state where simple problems are simply solved: no big government needed. It was only 100 years ago, this very day, that the new state's star was added to Old Glory. [2009]

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Now, that is so 21st century! Segway PT tours dot the landscapes of American cities, including Cincinnati, where there is also a Segway cemetery tour. A decade after it first appeared, however, we still don't know what to make of it, especially as a PT. That means Personal Transporter. Many of us seem to think it means Police Transporter. [2010]

Monday, July 2, 2012

New York, New York, USA

Maritime Museums need tourist attractions. Lightships need places to retire. People need reminders of the past. At the South Street Maritime Museum in New York City, the Ambrose fills all three needs. [1992]

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Swansea, Wales, UK

How is this lightship like Stephen Hawking? (1) They are both brilliant. (2) They are both unable to move under their own steam. In the case of the Helwick, in Swansea's Maritime Quarter, the tug is there to remind us how it got to its duty stations. [2005]